09/07/16 You’re an attention seeking…

Imagine you woke up this morning and your world had changed. 

When I say the world, I mean the world’s perception of you. 

You haven’t changed. You’re still the same old…same old…you. 

But something rather weird had happened.

Someone…you’re not sure who…but it’s certainly someone with a lot of clout…has started a small fire with the spark of an idea that you’re attention seeking.

It sounds pretty innocuous, doesn’t it? 

Attention seeking.

What do they mean by that? 

What are they saying about you?

What are they saying about themselves? 

You’re a smart kind of individual, so you look it up. You can’t find it in the library – so you try the Internet. 

There…well, there you can’t find anything definite. There’s no clear outline of what that person must have meant when they said,
‘You are an attention seeker.’

But as sure as eggs is eggs, that label when attributed to someone, anyone, isn’t remotely positive. 

It has taken no time at all for this spark of an idea to become a fire, to roar out of control as it leaps from person to person…some professional, some family…some friends…colleagues…people in the pub…folk in your local shop…neighbours…

Because there’s no accurate definition of ‘attention seeking’, each person has a different notion of what it means.

Try it yourself. Do you know anyone who’s attention seeking? 

What reliable source told you about person X’s ‘attention seekingness’ ? 

What did they mean by it?

What do YOU mean by it?

Who have you told? 

Ok, let’s go back to the beginning. You’ve been labelled as attention seeking. 

Suddenly everything you do is seen as attention seeking. 

Even saying you’re not attention seeking is seen as attention seeking.

There really is no way out of this labyrinth – the harder you try to escape, the deeper and deeper you fall into this infinite whirlpool. 

The reason I’m banging on about this so energetically (some might say, grammatically incorrectly, attention seekingly) is that this is a label that is often attributed to people who’ve been bestowed with the same mental malady as me. 

BP bastard D

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), is an oft used label for people who we don’t like….or, in the case of an array of American Cop Shows, the person wot dunnit. 

Adding ‘attention seeking’ to an already negative label isn’t, what I’d call, entirely useful.

You can play this at home – get a friend to give you the label for a day…suddenly every single thing you do has a negative connotation.

Everything. 

I might be wrong – I’ve been wrong before, although I don’t tend to advertise that. Call it er…unattention seeking….but 

I believe there is no label in the world of psychiatry, health care, social care, or general name calling that is more negative, stigmatising and ultimately discriminating than ‘Attention Seeking’

It’s a label with no way out. There is no escape. 

It is utterly, utterly useless.

It helps no-one. 

Don’t use it!

If someone you know describes someone with the label, challenge them.

‘What do you mean by that?’

‘How can person X ever escape that label? 

What do they need to do to be not attention seeking?’

As a mental exercise you could ask, ‘Aren’t we all attention seeking?’ 

Walk a mile

Chris

Posted in economy, hospitality, inequality, kindness, mental health, Uncategorized, walking | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

09/07/16 You’re an attention seeking…

Imagine you woke up this morning and your world had changed. 

When I say the world, I mean the world’s perception of you. 

You haven’t changed. You’re still the same old…same old…you. 

But something rather weird had happened.

Someone…you’re not sure who…but it’s certainly someone with a lot of clout…has started a small fire with the spark of an idea that you’re attention seeking.

It sounds pretty innocuous, doesn’t it? 
Attention seeking.

What do they mean by that? 

What are they saying about you?

What are they saying about themselves? 

You’re a smart kind of individual, so you look it up. You can’t find it in the library – so you try the Internet. 

There…well, there you can’t find anything definite. There’s no clear outline of what that person must have meant when they said,
‘You are an attention seeker.’

But as sure as eggs is eggs, that label when attributed to someone, anyone, isn’t remotely positive. 

It has taken no time at all for this spark of an idea to become a fire, to roar out of control as it leaps from person to person…some professional, some family…some friends…colleagues…people in the pub…folk in your local shop…neighbours…

Because there’s no accurate definition of ‘attention seeking’, each person has a different notion of what it means.

Try it yourself. Do you know anyone who’s attention seeking? 

What reliable source told you about person X’s ‘attention seekingness’ ? 

What did they mean by it?

What do YOU mean by it?

Who have you told? 

Ok, let’s go back to the beginning. You’ve been labelled as attention seeking. 

Suddenly everything you do is seen as attention seeking. 

Even saying you’re not attention seeking is seen as attention seeking.

There really is no way out of this labyrinth – the harder you try to escape, the deeper and deeper you fall into this infinite whirlpool. 

The reason I’m banging on about this so energetically (some might say, grammatically incorrectly, attention seekingly) is that this is a label that is often attributed to people who’ve been bestowed with the same mental malady as me. 

BP bastard D

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), is an oft used label for people who we don’t like….or, in the case of an array of American Cop Shows, the person wot dunnit. 

Adding ‘attention seeking’ to an already negative label isn’t, what I’d call, entirely useful.

You can play this at home – get a friend to give you the label for a day…suddenly every single thing you do has a negative connotation.

Everything. 

I might be wrong – I’ve been wrong before, although I don’t tend to advertise that. Call it er…unattention seeking….but 

I believe there is no label in the world of psychiatry, health care, social care, or general name calling that is more negative, stigmatising and ultimately discriminating than ‘Attention Seeking’

It’s a label with no way out. There is no escape. 

It is utterly, utterly useless.

It helps no-one. 

Don’t use it!

If someone you know describes someone with the label, challenge them.

‘What do you mean by that?’

‘How can person X ever escape that label? 

‘What do they need to do to be not attention seeking?’

As a mental exercise you could ask, ‘Aren’t we all attention seeking?’ 

Walk a mile

Chris

Posted in inequality, mental health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

09/07/16 Democracy in action.

Steve was buying a brand new car – a bright red Hoojamaflip.

Some motoring magazines extolled the virtues of it’s shiny redness.

How it had a steering wheel and a gear stick that really put YOU in control. 

And it’s so economic – over 100 miles to the gallon. 
(Whaddya mean ‘what’s a gallon?’ Ask your grand/ parents) 

When Steve bowled up to the garage, the salesman was really leaning against an open door…

‘Yes, this is a purely British car, made by British people, for British people,’ he purred as he pointed at the vast array of posters, handing out the shiny brochures that showed just what a wonderful purchase the bright red Hoojamaflip was. 

Our engineers are not only enthusiastic, but great value for money. 

‘Oh, and we have a great finance deal…just sign here…’

Steve was delighted. What more could he want – he was in control…and all the adverts said…well, just look at how red and shiny it is.

He spoke with his friends…in reality he’d made his own decision – this was the car of his dreams – most of them agreed, but there were a few nay sayers who’d read…
But what did they know? They were probably just jealous. 

Well, the day came when Steve’s bright red Hoojamaflip was delivered. And oh, what a thing of great beauty it was. 

Shiny and, my God, did Steve feel in control…

So proud was he, that he decided to show it off to his friends across the world of social media. He still had a few friends banging on about some report or other they’d read about the Hoojamaflip, and how it might not be…

Why did they have to keep going on about it?

The following day, Steve went down to his garage to gaze upon the beauty that was…

He sat down in the driver’s seat…snuggled in…caressed the gearstick…enjoying the moment…
He turned on the ignition…he was surprised to hear a weird grinding noise…no worries…perhaps it just needs running in?

He took it for a short drive around the beautiful British countryside. 

He was further surprised when his shiny red Hoojamaflip ground to a halt. 
He phoned for assistance and a lovely mechanic came out, concluding in a matter of seconds, ‘You’ve run out of fuel,’

‘But…but…I only filled it yesterday…I was told that it would go a hundred miles to the gallon (I told you to ask your parents) 

But that was the truth of the matter. He’d run out of fuel.

The mechanic put some petrol in the tank and said, ‘Try it now…’

Steve turned the ignition, the Hoojamaflip made a weird noise followed by a BANG as all the wheels fell off.

‘No worries,’ smiled the mechanic, ‘I can take you back to the garage, perhaps they can…’ 

Steve was surprised when he got back to the garage, all the posters and brochures that extolled the positive features of his lovely, shiny red car had gone…there were no pamphlets anywhere in this strangely grey dealership. 

He walked up to the counter and was met by two middle aged women.

‘How can we help?’ they said in unison (ironic really) 

Steve explained the day’s events, hoping to get to the bottom of his plight.
‘Who sold you the Hoojamaflip?’ the women smiled together.

Steve scratched his chin, ‘I’m not sure, but I think his name rhymes with garage..’

Their heads tilted together, ‘Gone, we’re afraid…resigned..’

‘What about his boss? He was a personable sort with…’

‘Blonde hair?’ they chorused 

He nodded.

‘Gone…’ they smiled.

‘Oh…what about the creepy guy who hung about with…?’

‘Gove…I mean, Gone…they empathised…’

‘Bugger…I’m going to write to the CEO, unless he’s…’

‘…going…they laughed together…’

‘Can YOU help then…?’ Steve suddenly felt really tired. 

‘To be fair…’ they started…

‘Yes…?’ he said eagerly

‘It was ‘Sold as seen’ ‘

‘Sorry?’ Steve spluttered.

‘Sold as seen..’ they nodded sagely.

‘But I demand a refund!!’

‘Sold as seen…’ they whispered.

‘But all the posters and glossy brochures said…’

‘Not ours….’ they shrugged together, and then, just in case he’d forgotten, they mouthed, ‘Sold. As. Seen…’

‘You…you…charlatans…’ he started.

‘We’re so glad you came in’ one of the women said whilst nodding to the other.

‘Yes,’ her colleague (?) nodded, ‘Yes, your shiny red Hoojamaflip…’

‘Yes…?’ Steve replied nervously…

‘…is a little more expensive than you’d been told…’

‘What???!’ he started with more than a little incredulity. And then, nervously…’…more expensive?’

‘A little,’ they smiled back.

‘A little….?’ Steve was fighting back the tears.

‘A billion times…’ they nodded confidently. 

‘But I signed a financial agreement….!’

‘Yes, and thank you for that – that gives us the flexibility to….’

‘But I didn’t realise…!!’

Together, they smiled…

Steve negotiated with the mechanic to take his shiny red Hoojamaflip back to his house.

He proudly parked it in his drive at the front of his house for all to see.

He didn’t want anyone to think he’d done the wrong thing.

When his friends asked if they could go for a drive in his car, he just smiled and, although the bitter consequence of cognitive dissonance was churning in his stomach, reminded them just how shiny and beautiful his facade was. 

The end.

Or the beginning?

And yes, you’re absolutely right, from now on he’ll have to…

Walk a mile

Chris

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02/07/16 I fucking HATE you

I fucking hate you. What in the name of God made you vote for that bunch of self serving, back stabbing, fucking wankers?
How fucking dare you challenge my hard won beliefs and thoughts. 

Who the fuck do you think you are? What gives YOU the right to belittle my fears? 
You’re misinformed! You’re stupid! You’re a fucking idiot – I mean, how the hell could you fall for their lies? 

Tory!

Socialist!

Corbynite! 

UKIP voter! 

Fascist

Racist

Black 

White

Christian

Muslim

Old

Young

Now remove the word ‘bastard’ from the tail end of your object of hate.

BREXIT!!!

Did you see that Leicester City won the premiership? 

But I’m not interested in football…

But yeah, now you mention it, it was pretty cool that the underdogs..

Did you see those football fans in France though?

English/ Russian thugs…!

I can’t believe the Welsh voted us out of…

Did you see the match last night though? 
They beat Belgium – currently – on paper – they are the second best team in in the world…!

Did you hear their fans singing? 

Personally, I was bubbling….well, I might have had something in my eye…

I was grinning like a…

I went on the Internet to look up ‘I am Wales/ Welsh/ a Welshman…’

Je suis Cymru or some such.

Why? Why would I feel such emotional connection with this hotch potch band of young men chasing what, in years gone by, was a gathering of leather hexigons wrapped around a rubber bladder, around a field? 

I’m a ScotEngBrit atheist, europhile with blue eyes, a mental health problem and a passion for loads of stuff that has fuck all to do with football or Wales. 

What in the name of Ryan Giggs make me feel so passionately about…

It was so easy.

It was as natural as breathing.

No, I didn’t hate the Belgians – I felt an affinity – whatever that was – with the Welsh. 

I know I’m not the only one. 

Stop. Fucking. Hating.

If you find yourself going down that slippery slope of hating someone you know almost nothing about….

STOP!!!

THINK!!

Find out more about them – whoever THEY are…

Not from folk who hate them.

From THEM.

Ask them – whoever they are – don’t tell them what they think or how they feel. 

Don’t belittle them with smart arse comments.

Don’t glory in your difference.

Don’t distance yourself from them. 

Try walking a mile in their shoes.

Better still – try this little trick.

Imagine you’re them. Take a look at the world from that perspective. 

Argue THEIR case. 

Find out how that feels.

It really doesn’t have to be this way.

I quite like you really…

Yes, yes, even you…

I only said I fucking hate you for dramatic effect….

No, really…

Walk a mile

Chris 

Posted in economy, inequality, mental health, Uncategorized, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

24/06/16 It’s hug a Brexiter day!

On reflection, perhaps it wasn’t the best way to run a campaign to imply…ok, to state implicitly…that 50%…oops, slightly more than 50% of people in the UK were either thick or racist…probably both. 

£240 billion. Give or take – that’s a huge amount of money. That’s how much has fallen off the value of the pound as it drops by 9% today.

£200 billion. Give or take – that too is a huge amount of money. That’s the amount that’s been lost in UK shares today. 

Together, that’s er…nearly four times the entire cost of the NHS. 

Mark Carney – the governor of the Bank of England – has spoken of challenging times ahead. Although his tone was upbeat on radio 4 this morning, I couldn’t help but hear an underlying flavour of, ‘I’ve bought a one way ticket back to Canada…I think I might have left the gas on…’ 

This has been a rather elaborate coup. 
From where I’m sitting, it would appear that many Brexiters felt they were voting for a more representative Government – politicians who are more like us, and not like…

I think the tragedy of this is that we’ve – yes, we’ve been played. We’ll have a significant change in government without an election. Our multi millionaire Prime Minister will be ousted in October by a guy who attended the same school, another multi millionaire…a man of the people er…for the people…? …and a cabinet of the same…? 

Thank goodness…

Although this all may be earth shattering – it’s nothing compared to the blunt wedge that has been used to divide us – you…me, friends, family, communities…everyone we know.

 This hasn’t been a friendly campaign. By voting differently, we’ve been encouraged to believe that the ‘others’ aren’t just opposites in an argument – but that they are figures of fun, depersonalised, and, at times, objects of hate. 

The dominos are beginning to fall. 

The United Kingdom will have to remove the word ‘united’ from it’s name as the Northern Irish and Scottish governments come to realise they’ve been given a mandate to separate from Westminster, both countries having overwhelmingly voted to remain in Europe. 

This isn’t the last referendum we’ll see…

So, as various flavours of shit hit the fan, who are we going to blame? 

Having battened down the hatches and taken control of this sceptred (sceptic?) isle, at what point will we stop blaming immigrants and those malingering benefit claimants on our situation? 

Who will we blame then? Who’ll be the next target of our vitriol? Perhaps we’ll continue building our walls – actual and philosophical…

Bugger…

This might feel slightly out of keeping of the rest of the blog, but now is the time to hug a Brexiter…to reach out…to put our greatly exaggerated differences aside…to embrace our often ignored similarities…to remember that people are fabulous. 

You’ll know by now that I’ve done the research. 

I’m right. 

Don’t let that blunt wedge divide us. 

Walk a mile

Chris

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11/06/16 Walk a Mile Inverness


Well, it was a day with a number of firsts. 

This was the first walk a mile event where it rained…somewhat pathetically and, to be honest, a bit lack lustre, but, it was precipitation nonetheless.

And thank goodness – the heat in Scotland’s gateway to the highlands was fierce…er…

Another first – the lovely Ella walked the first virtual mile with brand new Walkamiler, Alan, a guy who couldn’t make it on the day, using a new fandangled thing called ‘a mobile phone’. 

As I bobbed around talking to a variety of folk, I vaguely noticed that she was dropping behind – but…well…you know…she’d be fine. 

Until she got lost. 

Another first for Walkamile. 

She answers to ‘Ella’ and you can gain her trust with cake…

Thankfully there was no need for a widespread search – policeman Alan managed to retrieve her to reconcile her with the rest of the herd. 

And what a herd it was.

THE FERGIES!!!!

Nearly a million years ago, give or take, this lovely family welcomed me in as one of their own when I trudged into town into the teeth of a torrential downpour that they referred to as, ‘A spot of rain’
Darth 1, my trusty rucksack, had bitten the dust under the strain of excessive supernoodles and the Fergies, who’d been following the sacred ramble on Facebook, took care of me.

And here they were again. Old friends, picking up where we’d left off. 

That’s what Walkamile is all about. 

Going back to firsts – this was the first walk a virtual mile. Ella linked up with Alan –  by phone (Skype and FaceTime are available too) to walk that Inverness mile with him. 

I think it was the combination of this – and the fact that she suffers from ADOS (attention deficit OOOH SHINY!) – that led to her losing the rest of us. 

This was a walk set up by Paulina Duncan of Birchwood Highland.– supported by SeeMe and me – and that’s something we’re keen to develop. 

You – yes you – I can’t see anyone else here – can set up your own event. 

 I mean…getting a bunch of folk from all walks of life (see what I did there?) to walk a mile in each other’s shoes – we can provide training – and other support with a sign up page on the sacred website and an organisers pack – take a look here.

You’re never alone. 



Other highlights for me included (finally) meeting up with Mairi Ross Grey, the sister of the lovely Teen who I stayed with on the Black Isle almost a million years ago, and her family. And what a delightful, smiling bunch they were. 

And, in true walk a mile meets 6 degrees of separation stylie, she introduced me to pharmacist come member of the Scottish Parliament, Maree Todd, who’s shaping up to be a rather great advocate of the mental health movement – 


if you haven’t heard her second speech at Holyrood, speaking about the great opportunities that lay ahead of Scottish Government in respect of disability benefits, I urge you to take a look here.

I certainly felt a glow of optimism after meeting her. 

We also got to meet the lovely Natasha – a big fan of the walk a mile gig – who’s really immersed herself in our campaign. 


And that’s really what it’s all about…

People are fabulous…fabulous…fabulous and good God, how lucky am I? 

There are 2 more events coming up this year – one at the Royal Ed in August and one in Galashiels in September – I’ll keep you posted. 

Walk a mile

Chris 

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17/06/16 We have far more in common than that which divides us


Take a look at the heading again. Think about it. Say it out loud. 

Think of groups you might ordinarily believe you have little or no affinity with. 
Look at the heading again – no, bugger it, let me help you out here…

We have far more in common than that which divides us.

These are the words of Jo Cox MP, who was tragically murdered yesterday, in her maiden speech in the House of Commons last year. 

A speech  that I urge you to listen to.

Spoiler alert – a speech that contains passion, optimism, joy, more than a little humour, and a sprinkle of self deprecation. It’s a speech from an MP who is clearly, genuinely delighted to be there, an MP who believes she can make an impact. 

When I heard about her death, I took to Twitter, as many people did, sharing her maiden speech since I felt it was a celebration of who she was. 

Even now, I’ve watched that speech maybe 10 times, and I can’t help smiling at her…her…absolute Jo Coxiness. 

A lot of people seemed to understand my angle – the message I was trying to get across, but one message slapped me hard in the face…

 ‘her body’s not even cold, and you’re already using her death to political advantage. Utterly fucking shameful.’

I responded with ‘no, not at all – nothing to do with politics – more to do with a lovely vibrant light that has been needlessly lost’

I really felt the 120 character limit there – I wanted to say so much more – this person didn’t know me, and yet they presumed to know my motivation. 

I wanted more from the exchange – but that was that…unsatisfactorily the end…
We have far more in common than that which divides us.

This was an MP who worked passionately for her constituency, who worked with cross party groups in the belief that together they could affect real change. 
Today tributes are cascading from people, family, politicians of all flavours, good God – even the media, who want to celebrate the life of this, clearly inspirational, woman. 

Such is the passion in each and every accolade bestowed upon her, the question that leaps out at me is, 

‘Why haven’t we heard about Jo Cox before?’ 

I’m not for one second suggesting that she’s not worthy of all the praise coming her way today. I’m just wondering – what is it about us…about the UK media…that stops us from rejoicing in the general wonderfullness of…yes, let’s start with MP’s…but of the people around us? 

Why is it so much more easy to hate and snipe…to exaggerate tiny differences whilst ignoring our massive similarities? 

We really are bigger and better than this. 

Do me a favour – take a few seconds out of your day to think about…anyone who you know who makes you feel that little bit better…perhaps taller…more worthwhile by their very existence. 

Then tell someone about them. 

What’s wonderful about them? What is it about this person that makes you smile…that makes your life richer? 

Tell ME about them. 

I’ll happily share their story about the place. 

I can easily think of one man who regularly makes me smile with the generosity of his greeting – his cheery ‘hello mate’ as he shakes my hand…the same guy who gives Ella a kiss and a cuddle every time he sees her…

I’m smiling now as I see his big grin in my mind’s eye…a man whose name I don’t know, but who I feel richer for seeing each and every time…

I am, of course, talking about the bloke at the Shipston upon Stour tip. 

And that’s just one person – with almost no thought whatsoever – I bet you’ve got many more. 

I know I have. 

Walk a Mile

Chris

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